10/23/2003 11:00PM

Litfin's Breeders' Cup analysis

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Distaff

Sightseek lost three times at Santa Anita to begin her 4-year-old campaign, but ran what were then new top Beyers on each occasion, while getting her first experiences with two-turn dirt routes. Four straight Grade 1 wins at three distances have followed, including a layover figure in the Go for Wand on a dull surface. Got Koko beat Sightseek while giving that rival weight in the La Canada, which was her sixth straight dirt win and appeared to knock her off form for a while. She comes in off a sharp return score, loves this track, and is capable of pairing up big races. Elloluv had a much-needed tightener when DQ'd for drifting in half-length return loss to Got Koko. She has been best up to 1 1/16 miles thus far.

Juvenile Fillies

Class Above comes up to this off a big win Kentucky Cup Day at Turfway, similar to the way Vindication prepped for last year's Juvenile score for Padua Stables and Bob Baffert. She has a series of good workouts over the Santa Anita surface. Victory U. S. A. was 3-5 vs. Halfbridled in the Debutante, when she got nosed out for second after racing three wide against the grain of a rail-favoring track. Her figures continued to move upward when stretched to route in Frizette. Halfbridled is marooned out in post 14, which opens the door to a world of potential trouble into the clubhouse turn.

Mile

Peace Rules first came to prominence winning 3 of 4 one-mile turf races last fall, showing the ability to rate just off the lead on this course, also from an inside post. He is idle since the Travers, which is a plus considering new Beyer tops off layoffs in the Louisiana Derby and Haskell. Refuse to Bend won the Desmond on a left-handed course rated good to firm, and did so carrying 134 pounds and earning top one-mile Timeform among the Europeans. He was rank on yielding turf in his latest, but this two-time Group 1 winner has won fresh for experienced ship-to-U.S. connections. Oasis Dream should be able to get a mile based on uphill finish to take July Cup. His tactical speed has been displayed primarily straight courses, and here he must negotiate post 10 with short run to first turn.

Sprint

Betting the longest layoff in the field has been a profitable angle in the Sprint, and Midas Eyes looks enticing in that regard, especially in view of Bobby Frankel's history of good-priced winners when spotting fresh horses aggressively . Shake You Down, the claim of the year, has won 6 of 7 for Scott Lake, with four of the wins earning 115+ Beyers at three different tracks. He proved his ability to ship and win at Calder and got an ideal rebound prep under minimal urging last month. Aldebaran is the morning-line favorite and the nation's most accomplished sprinter this year, but all in long sprints. He has won twice on this track when fresh, though, and his only one-turn loss this year was the slow-paced Carter to Congaree.

Filly and Mare Turf

Closing with a furious rally, Musical Chimes shaded 22 seconds for her final quarter but fell short of catching perfect-trip winner Tates Creek prepping for this in the slow-paced Yellow Ribbon. A faster tempo and second-over-the-course angle may lead to a reversal. Tates Creek's record of 11-3-0 from 15 turf starts commands respect. She can be placed anywhere and rally when asked. Islington is an obvious threat after steadying repeatedly in this event last year, and running a big race vs. top-class males in the Irish Champion most recently, but the warm-weather climate is a legitimate concern. L'Ancresse was close to Flower Bowl winner Dimitrova in Ireland. She's a bomber for underside of exotics.

Juvenile

TIGER HUNT improved significantly in the Lane's End Futurity, encountering traffic early on the far turn and then splitting horses several times while gaining a world of experience. Cuvee, who has won 4 of his 5 starts by lengthy margins, would have been the clear choice had he not drawn the outside post. If he is vulnerable in a two-turn route, it wasn't apparent in his Futurity romp. Chapel Royal comes out of a slow-paced Champagne when he was a clear but well-beaten second - his second straight defeat as the chalk while stretching out. Race for Glory is a dangerous Cal-bred with speed from the rail, and his trainer needs no introduction.

Turf

Storming Home has trained in California since coming to the United States, where he has finished first all four starts. Close inspection of Whittingham Cap's internal fractions reveals a phenomenal effort not done justice by final-time figs alone, and the same can be said of his dizzying late run into the snail's pace of the Hirsch in his first race over this course. Sulamani impressed mightily in the Turf Classic, getting off the deck after a disastrous stumble to win going away, albeit vs. subpar field. He is one of the most accomplished 12-furlong runners in the mix. High Chaparral demonstrated the ability to ship and win this event last year, but under conditions far more favorable to Europeans.

Classic

Pleasantly Perfect didn't knock anyone's socks off in recent Goodwood, but how good did Tiznow look running a flat third in same prep two years ago? Pleasantly Perfect is a deep closer who had a tough pace set-up in his comeback, but has proven capable of better and would just love to see Medaglia d'Oro and Congaree hook up in prolonged struggle toward the front. No knocks on Medaglia d'Oro, who is 2 for 2 over this track and one-two in all starts dating back to last year's Belmont Stakes, save for the fact he may be at tops up to nine furlongs. Ditto Congaree, whose recent hoof problems are an issue despite affinity for this track.